Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Trinkets and Trade Beads

After a day of R&R at Bryce Canyon, Blondie and I were glad to get on the road.  I wasn't kidding about the amount of European tourists arriving at this site.  There is no doubt that the canyon and the related geology is world-class, but it blows my mind how the related commercialism associated with the site is ramped up.  I have never experienced anything iike it: whereby every trinket and doo-dad that in any remote way can be associated with the Canyon, with first nations,or with cowboys is exploited on a huge scale. Imagine, if you will, Banff and all of its shops and trinket related stores multiplied a hundred fold. I am not quibbling over the people making a living, and there is some great art amongst the kitch, but I really wonder what the Europeans  and others really think North American culture is all about.

I ran down from  Bryce Canyon to Page, which is near to Lake Powell, and borders on the huge Navaho Nation.  Similar to Nevada, a lot of the roads in Northern Arizona run along the base of the escarpments, and some of the rock faces and geological features are really interesting.

The red soil of this area is truly a reddish colour.  The camera does not do it justice.

The amount of gear that I am carrying, the top-heavy nature of Blondie has been bothering me well-before I left on this adventure.  I had talked myself into sending some gear home, and now it was simply a matter of finding a post office.  I had a picture in my minds eye of Flagstaff of being a one-horse cowtown, with dusty streets and I figured that I would not have any trouble finding the post mistress and firing off some of my stuff.  My apologies to all Flagstaffians, as I soon learned that this city is large, spread out, and a maze for this village boy.  After a short and fruitless search for a postal outlet, I took off out of town.  City traffic on a bike has never been appealing to me, and although I did not run into any said idiots, I feel my chances of staying upright are better on the open road, and not trying to deal with traffic lights, less than stellar street signs, and a grumpy Mr. Garmin.  

After Flagstaff, I took an alternative route, away from the state highway, and headed for Sedona.  I had read somewhere, that Sedona was a somewhat magical place, and in fact had auras or black holes or something that made it extra special.  I had visions of brown eyed girls in long dresses, lots of teepees, and a few dozen reminders of the sixties strolling about.   The ride from Flagstaff to Sedona was very interesting, in that there was an elevation drop of about 2000 feet, and the road ended up following a river for quite a few of the winding and twisty miles before Sedona.  Some of the 15 mile an hour corners were exactly that, and I have to pay tribute to the engineers who put this road together.
The spectaclar ride drops you into Sedona, which is guarded by these maginificant pillars which  are far more than the hoodoos of Bryce.  These solitary pinnacles are a bright red in colour and are truly statuesque.

I just lost a hour of my most elequoent writing. Save, Save, Save....

  Suffice to say, that my campsite was visited by something during the night. I also had one of those livid dreams (yes you were in it) where all of your life is in front of you, but the stage, the actors, and the situations are in another dimension.  If you havent had one of those dreams, I recommend riding in 40 degree heat for 5 hours.  The end result of the dream was positive, and I awoke refreshed and determined to lighten my load, both figuratively and literally.  Check out Sedona and vortexes.

I tried to find another Post Office in Phoenix, but for those of you who have been there, it is not an easy  city to navigate, and after an hour of useless wandering through mall like places, I headed for El- Centro, which is my jumping off point for Mexicali.

The thermometer reads 38.5 degrees, but it got up to 40.5 before I reached El Cento.  I have been using my cooling vest, and I am packing my camelback and keeping hydrated.

   These dunes are between Yuma and El Centro, and if wasn't so goddamed hot, I am sure Blondie would love to try some Sand...

I managed finally to find a Post Office in El-Centro and I have lightened my load by one tent, tent poles, and tent fly.  I can still may a shelter, using the bike as a support, and integrate my camo fly as a cover, if need be.  I think that I will not be seeing rain for awhile...